(3:40 PM) County Announces Launch Of Elder Justice Navigator Project

State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, speaking on the steps of the Chautauqua County Courthouse discussing the launch of the Elder Justice Navigator Project in Chautauqua County. Chautauqua County received one of only five of the federal Elder Justice Navigator Project grants that were rewarded throughout the country. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

MAYVILLE — A new innovative pilot program will be starting in Chautauqua County to hopefully curb the abuse of elders.

On Wednesday, officials gathered on the steps of the Chautauqua County Courthouse to announce the launch of the Elder Justice Navigator Project.

The innovative pilot program is being paid for through a grant from the Administration for Community Living through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and aims to increase awareness of elder abuse and exploitation while improving outcomes for older adults engaging with the courts who have experienced maltreatment. The navigator project provides education to the courts and community, and makes legal and community-based referrals for older adults.

Karen Nicolson, Center for the Elder Law and Justice chief executive officer, said only one in 20 cases of elder abuse is reported. She said the cases reported are so low because the perpetrator of the abuse is usually a family member or caregiver responsible for the safekeeping of the senior citizen.

“Elder abuse is an incredibly under-reported crime,” Nicolson said.

State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, said her office receives calls from constituents everyday about crimes. She said the saddest ones involve senior citizens. She added the $360,000 federal grant will go toward providing safety to the elderly and will provide them with greater access to the court system.

“I look forward to this having positive results for our senior citizens,” she said.

See tomorrow’s edition of The Post-Journal for complete coverage.